July 2, 2015

In Praise of the Fourth of July




I wish they could have seen her, those white-wigged guys in their buckle shoes. Propped up in a hospital bed, wearing one of those silly gowns, she was nearly as pale as the bleached white sheets and pillowcases behind her. She was one month shy of her 41st birthday, six months into chemotherapy. She’d hit a rough patch at the start of July, spiking a fever and landing herself in the sixth-floor oncology ward. I came to distract her, because that’s what friends do, staying with her for the afternoon while her worried and worn-out husband—trying to keep things normal when “normal” no longer had meaning—took their nine-year-old kid for a swim. (more…)